Recently in the fun stuff Category

5 favourites

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So I've been toying with the idea of writing up an entry that lets those of you who are interested get to know me a bit more. Kind of humanize the person behind the blog sort of thing. Anyway, I've decided to do a list of 5 favourites - not necessarily in any particular order. Don't know how much it tells you about me but here you go:

5 Favourite Movies (not necessarily all time faves, but ones I'd watch more than a few times again)
* Gladiator
* Sin City
* Lord of the Rings (extended version)
* V for Vendetta
* Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
(notice how I snuck in an extra 2 movies?)

5 Favourite (current) TV Shows (stuff I must watch, tape or TIVO)
* 24
* Heroes
* Lost (on again tonight YAY!)
* Friday Night Lights
* Ugly Betty

5 Favourite Bands (ok this will be a real toughie because I like a LOT of music so it's probably just going to be stuff that's in heavy rotation right now)
* Evanescence
* Hoobastank
* Incubus
* Nickel Creek

5 Favourite Colours
* Lemon Yellow
* Tangerine Orange
* Twilight Sky on a Clear Winter Night (a deep velvety blue)
* New Leaf Green
* Candy Pink

5 Favorite Foods (to be washed down with some yummy wine - pref. red)
* Thin Crust Pizza (yes, with anchovies)
* Chicken Curry (esp. Tikki Masala)
* Veggie Stir Fry
* Grilled Fish
* Fajitas

I might do up another set later if I can come up with 5 more things to have favourites of.

rrrroll up the rrrim 2006...

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Well it's that time of year again but this year I'll be playing much less as I've cut down to only one coffee a day - and I bring that from home in the morning. I really haven;t had any Tim Hortons coffee for at least 6 months or so now but the other day I was craving something hot to drink and went down to the Tim's on campus for an herbal tea. Lucky me - my cup was a winner! So my average right now is 100% :) Way better than last year!

road trip - day 5 ...

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bald mountain - route 9, Maine USAHome again, home again, jiggity jig. We were a little late getting started on the road home but the drive back was pretty uneventful. Another hot sunny day with clear roads ahead of us. There was some roadwork being done on all the routes home but there were no delays thankfully. I think we were all ready to go home at this point. So ready that we bypassed the Desert of Maine when we got to Freeport, opting to try it again in the fall since it's open until mid-October. It might be nice to come down again in the off-season to take in the blaze of autumn foliage.

airplane cloudThe most interesting thing on the way home was this airplane shaped cloud that we saw after crossing the border at St. Stephen.

There's nothing like coming home after being away, to be back in familiar surroundings, your own space. And Cassie - we all missed our doggie and I know she missed us too (she was pretty much doing backflips in greeting us!)

road trip - day 4 ...

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White Mountains vistaThe next morning dawned bright and clear so after a quick breakfast we headed out to the Settler's Green Outlet Village - brand name heaven and cheapey prices. One can only shop so much so we wandered about the town for a while, took lots of scenic photos and then went back to the campground in search of a pool.

Saco RiverAliya mentioned there was a beach so we went down to the Saco River for a swim. They call it a river, but I'd call it a creek as it's not too wide nor too deep. I think the deepest part of the river came up to my chin and I'm pretty short (5'4") but it was a very beautiful spot. The water was gloriously cool and crystal clear, the river bottom sparkly sandy and the current was gentle enough that you had a lap pool effect if you tried to swim against it but it was not too difficult to walk upstream. I think this was my favorite part of the trip - floating on my back as the river carried me gently downstream, watching the clouds and trees pass by. It was very restful/de-stressful.
I think we stayed down at the river for an hour or so, but we couldv'e stayed much longer, unfortunately there was laundry and packing to finish to get ready for the long drive home tomorrow.

I'm glad we came up from the river when we did, because after organizing the car we noticed those damn dark clouds moving in again. And of course, around 6-7pm the thunder and lightning show was on again for a repeat performance. Fortunately we'd had enough time for supper and just hung out in the tent until the rain let up which it did around 8:30 or 9. Just enough time for a campfire to burn off our wood and then get some sleep. And since no campfire is complete without beer, D went off to the 7-11 for some tallboys of Bud. What is it about sitting 'round a campfire in short shorts, a bikini top and flipflops drinking cans of beer that brings out the Daisy Duke in a person?? Too bad, so sad no pictures (thank god!) but we had a ton of laughs that night and it was a great end to our family road trip.

road trip - day 3 ...

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In the morning we woke to find the wind had blown the lid off our dry goods container which we had left on the picnic table. Thankfully it happened after the rain had let up some as evidenced by the amount of rainwater inside but unfortunately some critter(s) had gotten into our goodies. The cookies and marshmallows were picked at - ewww. And of course, everything inside was wet.

Route 1ABy the time we got ourselves organized the fog had come in and the rain was sprinkling on and off. Breakfast ended up a soggy mess of pancakes and sausages while we desperately tried to dry off our stuff enough to pack to go to North Conway. We packed as best we could and off we went, hoping to leave the rain and fog behind at the coast.

To our glee we left the rain behind as we wound down I-95 towards Portland. The day cleared up bright and hot (temperature was in the high 80's). The drive to North Conway, New Hampshire from Portland is along Route 320 and winds through some beautiful landscapes and pretty towns. Bridgeton in particular was a very lovely, colorful and artsy town.

trailer parkThe campground we stayed at in North Conway was the Saco River Family Campground - it's major selling point is that it's practically across the street from the Settler's Green outlet village. Also there's pretty near no bugs here. But it does have a bunch of detractions, the biggest being there's way too many rules here. However, upon looking around we noticed that many of the rules are simply ignored. Also, the lots have very little privacy, it's RV land - almost a trailer park, our tent lot was on a slope of bare ground (which quickly turns into mud in the rain) but it was liveable for a couple of nights.

We got here around suppertime just in time to see a cover of big dark clouds moving in...this didn't bode too well. And sure enough, by 7pm we were in a crazy thunder/lightning storm. Thunder and lightning - always a treat in a tent. Were we prepared for monsoons? Of course not. No tarps to provide extra shelter so we stayed in the tent until the rain let up enough for us to go find some quick food. It wasn't too traumatic through because I am sick enough to bring a laptop and some DVDs on a camping trip - just in case. And thankfully, because we had brought a power pack with us, there was enough juice to power the laptop to watch Pirates of the Caribbean while the thunder rumbled and crashed outside.

road trip - day 2 ...

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mini-golfThe crows woke us at the crack of dawn which opened into a spectacular sunshiny day. After a nice civilized breakfast of eggs and sausages cooked over the camp stove - yum! we needed to go in to Ellsworth to get Aliya a bathing suit (which she forgot at home). So off we trekked to the nearby Wal-Mart. While there we picked up some more camping supplies that we found would come in handy (citronella candle, vinyl tablecloth, some dish towels and so on. Since we were in Ellsworth we had to go to the L.L. Bean's Factory Outlet store. After shopping at Bean's we returned to the camp site for a sandwich lunch and then decided to go to the nearby fun-park for a round of mini-golf. The day was blazing hot and mini-golf was fun but the freaking course was like for pro-golfers or something; the putting degree of difficulty: v. high (or maybe it's just that we all suck at golf...). After mini-golf, we decided to go back in to Bar Harbor and have a nice seafood supper to cap off the day.

That evening we tried to burn off the rest of our "seasoned" campfire wood but realized we would have to leave some pieces for the next campers to that site. Although the day was hot, we had noticed some clouds moving in threatening rain - and did it rain overnight.! It freaking poured.

road trip...

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Day one -
Darrell drivingOur road trip vacation started with a trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. Getting to St. Stephen was the fastest part of the trip - but then things got bogged down at the border crossing to Calais, Maine. I'm guessing it was partially because of the long weekend in Canada but the wait-time at the St. Stephen/Calais crossing was around 2 hours in line in the scorching heat to get across to the US side.

Once across, the drive down to Bar Harbor was pretty uneventful. It's a pretty drive along Route 9 (the Airline route) which is somewhat shorter than the even prettier Coastal Route (Rte 1) and Bar Harbor is a lovely resort town.
Bar Harbor
Because we were trying to go the economical route (read cheap) we decided to forego motels and hotels for camping, which is also fun if a little rougher around the edges. We stayed at the KOA Woodlands which was a lovely site but a little too buggy with mosquitos. But camping can be a lot of fun - campfires, cooking on the coleman stove, sleeping outdoors in a tent. It's great ... until it rains (but I get ahead of myself here). Campfires are the best part of the evening but beware of "seasoned" wood which must be camper code for "soaked in pine resin" which results in a conflagration of alarming proportions. The wood was encased in a sheet of flame and was freaking bubbling. It probably wouldn't have been too big of a deal had the fire ring been placed further away from the stand of trees.

Observations: food tastes better cooked and eaten outside; campfires, marshmallows and beer go together most excellently.

fun at the fair...

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The fairs here seem to bracket summer vacation. There's one very near the beginning of summer vacation and one just before school starts in September. The one at the end of June is new - I think it's only been around for the past few years. I much prefer it to the one in late August which is overpriced and has few rides and games. It used to be the big event, the harvest fair, with the livestock and agriculture shows, rides, games and fun, but has dwindled over the years until it is a weak shadow itself.

the chaos ride

The community fair is more centrally located and has free entry to the grounds. I lucked out with free parking too (bonus). The only thing you really need to shell out for is the ride coupons. (well and the food if you dare). I now insist on bringing a friend along for Aliya so they can enjoy the rides together - I'm at the age where the whirlies bring on the hurlies, but I still like the thrill rides. I didn't get a chance to try the Freak Out but Aliya and her friends rode it twice and proclaimed it "awesome". This year instead I prowled the grounds and took tons of photos. I've always liked the color and frenzy of fairs and there are many opportunities for interesting shots. I really like the decorative details you find on some of the rides.
swings canopy detail

And no trip to the fair is complete without the commemorative tattoo (oh - airbrushed of course ;) ).

wrist tattoo
ankle tattoo

iTMS Canada....

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It's here! It's here - finally! iTunes music store is open for business in Canada. I'm a happy happy camper - especially since Christmas came early and I'm now the proud parent of an iPod photo :)
(I'm sure the credit card companies are rejoicing too).

thrill ride...


the skymaster
We went to the community fair on Friday and when I saw the Skymaster I knew I had to ride it. It was bracelet day and the girls were running from ride to ride but always the Skymaster was flinging its arms around as if to say "Hey, over here - you know you waaaant to!" Now D doesn't care much for rides, nor do I usually (especially the spinny ones that churn you into a mass of sick) but the fast rides, the thrill rides - those I like.

Luck was with me that night because we ran into some friends completely unexpectedly as they've been in Auz for the past year or so. We knew they were back in town for a visit but assumed they were busy with family. But great because they're an awesome couple and we were really happy to get to see them before they head back and hey - now I had a ride partner yippiee!

Now the skymaster ride is one where you're clamped into your seat with a rigid over the shoulder harness that clips in between your legs. Then the cage doors are clamped down on your car which holds probably 16 people (8 rows x 2 seats). The cars are fixed on the ends of the arms which pivot 360 degrees and describe a 60 ft diameter circle.

Do you remember being a kid and being on the swings at the playground? Kicking higher and higher until all you could see was the blue sky at the end of your legs. And you wondered, if you could just kick a little higher would you, could you flip the swing around the bar? And you tried. And at the highest point you could reach you'd hang in the air just a bit then fall really fast and slam down into the seat. Well that's the skymaster, except you're caged and you do flip over the bar!

I love these rides but they scare the crap out of me too (which of course just adds to the thrill). Sean was beside himself laughing as he's yelling to me "Open your eyes you can see the ground!" as we're hanging upside down!! And I'm desperately trying to jam my feet under the seats in front of me to keep my sandals from flying off (advice: don't wear sandals on rides that flip you upside down), and hanging on trying not to get jammed up against the top of my harness. There's actually a sign before you get on the ride that warns that "excessively large people will not be able to get on the ride" but it should also warn that people shorter than this high (imagine a hand marking off about 6ft) will be shaken, yes shaken like a polaroid picture ;) )

All in all it was a blast. And the girls had fun (they actually went on the Skymaster as well) and we the adults grinned knowingly as they went on that one spinny ride too many and emerged clutching their tummies and moaning; it was time to go home.
For fun: 4 stars out of 5.



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